URI announces 2021 CyberCorps Scholarships for Service recipients

KINGSTON, R.I. – Nov. 4, 2021 –The University of Rhode Island’s Computer Science and Statistics Department has announced the 2021 CyberCorps Scholarship for Service recipients. The announcement was part of October’s University of Rhode Island CyberSecurity Awareness Month.

The scholarship provides selected students with tuition and fees for up to three years; a $25,000 stipend (undergraduate/academic year) or a $34,000 stipend (graduate/academic year); and up to $6,000 per year for textbooks and software, and travel/registration for job fairs and conferences.

The five recipients are Pranitha Nichanametla of Middletown; Benjamin Dahrooge of Cumberland; Jacob Lussier of Glocester; Kenneth Lu Diaz of Hatillo, Puerto Rico; and Samantha Louise Saldua of Pawtucket.

Nichanametla, Dahrooge, Lussier, and Lu Diaz are pursuing URI’s Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s Degree in Computer Science and Cyber Security. Saldua is a graduate student in the Professional Science Master’s Degree in Cyber Security program.

“The scholarship program has set me up to advance my education, achieve my goals, and have a great future,” said Lussier. “I am incredibly grateful to the University of Rhode Island and the U.S. government for giving me this opportunity to work with a group of incredibly talented students and advisers.”

Saldua said she became interested in pursuing a master’s degree in cyber security because of the increased role of technology in society and the many vulnerabilities that have been revealed in recent years. “I want to join the cyber security industry to find ways to achieve the convenience of technology without having to sacrifice our privacy,” she said. “When I came across this program, I thought it was a great opportunity to break through into the industry.”

Lu Diaz said he sees the program as a way to serve the community. “I am looking forward to helping the United States protect the privacy of its citizens from other countries,” he said. “I aim to learn from the best in the industry, from both the public and private sectors. My goal is to lead the field.”

As a condition of the scholarship, CyberCorp Scholars must work for a U.S. government agency for a time equal to the time they received their scholarship (usually two years).

“The opportunity to work in the government is one of the things that attracted me to the scholarship,” said Nichanametla. “Having this opportunity is a great way to start my career and will help me learn more about what specific path I want to take.”

“I am excited about the opportunity to be able to utilize the skills I am learning in the program in future roles in the public sector,” added Dahrooge. “My plan before being awarded the scholarship was to pursue a software engineering role, but now I am excited to be able to continue my education here at URI, and go on to an important, more-specialized position in cyber security for a government agency.”

Funding for the program is made possible by a $3.4 million federal grant from the National Science Foundation to the University of Rhode Island’s Computer Science and Statistics Department. Professor Victor Fay-Wolfe, undergraduate chair, is the primary investigator for the grant and coordinator of the URI CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program.  

Funding to students is generally provided during the last two years of the accelerated bachelor’s to master’s program (senior year of the bachelor’s degree and the one year of the master’s degree program) or during the two years of the master’s degree program.  

For more information about the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service at the University of Rhode Island, please visit: https://web.uri.edu/cs/academics/cybercorps-scholarship-for-service/.

Applications for the next cohort of students will open in early 2022.